The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

JULY 2003
Photo:Michael Keating
The Crucible of Leadership

As we approach another convention, we will elect leaders for the next two years and look for future leaders who will serve at all levels of the organization. Historically, VVA leaders have been developed and tested at the local chapter level, where our members hone their leadership skills in management, fund-raising, procedure and planning, and grass-roots organizing.

There are those who step forward to accept the support of their peers to serve as officers and directors, and there are those who identify with particular issues and become educated in the specifics of those issues.

They serve as working members of committees, where they become familiar with developing solutions to problems and making recommendations to the board of directors on policy positions. They become skilled at presenting carefully considered positions to legislators and the public.

After a period of local leadership, some of our members move up to the state council level where they learn and practice the theories of oversight and the importance of vision by putting the skills they learned at the chapter level to work for the larger body.

Then our future leaders step up to the national level where they put all their knowledge to use as officers, directors, and members or chairs of committees and task forces. The knowledge they gained through years of service at the chapter and state council levels serves the organization well. We can ask for no better training ground than the grass roots of our organization.

I have watched this growth of leadership for more than 20 years, and I continue to be impressed by the talent and range of knowledge our membership possesses. But a well of knowledge and skill remains untapped.

There are many reasons why some members do not identify themselves and their talents. Many are working and simply do not have the time required to participate fully. Others are busy with community activities that provide an overall benefit to veterans by improving the conditions for all in the community.

VVA has been the point of the spear for changes in the arena of veterans affairs for a quarter century. That position demands a commitment of time that not all of us are able to make. That does not mean that any of us are any less dedicated to our goals and objectives.

To those of you who lend your skills and talents to VVA, I thank you. Our members thank you as well. Without your devotion, Vietnam veterans across the country would not have the benefits and services they now enjoy. Without your passion and enthusiasm, our successes would not have occurred.

To those of you who have that enthusiasm and have ever thought about serving your fellow veterans, their families, and communities, I ask you to step forward. Tell your chapter or state council president that you are willing and able to serve and that you want to help take VVA to the next level.

We look to you to step forward as you did 30 years ago and offer yourself In Service To America with VVA. On behalf of our members from Maine to Florida, Georgia to Hawaii, Puerto Rico to Guam, and the Philippines, I urge you to answer the call to serve.

Remember our troops and their families, because their lives remain at risk, and we must never forget them.

God bless our troops and the United States.



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